Senior in mask receiving bandage after vaccination

A recently approved pneumococcal vaccine that protects against 20 types of bugs can be safely given together with an adjuvanted influenza vaccine in adults aged 65 and older, according to late-stage clinical trial results.

Drugmaker Pfizer tested the protective response and safety of Prevnar 20 when given one month before or at the same time as SIIV Fluad quadrivalent seasonal influenza vaccine (2020/2021 strains), a flu vaccine often recommended for older adults.

Study participants’ immune responses to both the pneumonia and flu drugs were the same, whether given together or a month apart, the company reported. And the safety profile of Prevnar 20 was “similar” when given in either time frame, it said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends administration of pneumococcal vaccines PCV13 or PPSV23 during the same visit with influenza vaccination. The Food and Drug Administration approved Prevnar 20 in June, but health officials have not announced recommendations for its use. 

CDC to decide on drug’s use in October

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, is scheduled to convene in October, and may decide at that time how Prevnar 20 and a newly approved drug made by Merck should be used in practice.

Prevnar 20 was the first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against 20 Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes in adults aged 18 years and older, according to drugmaker Pfizer. Merck’s new drug Vaxneuvance, meanwhile, protects against 15 strains of bacteria that can cause pneumonia and other acute respiratory disease, and has shown evidence of efficacy in older adults. It was federally approved in July.

Taking two vaccines during a doctor visit raises the likelihood that a patient will actually get both recommended vaccines, according to Pfizer. Vaccination rates are known to decline when multiple appointments are needed, it noted in a statement accompanying the new clinical trial results. 

“The results of this trial support current CDC clinical guidance allowing co-administration during a single doctor or pharmacy appointment, so that more adults are able to help protect themselves against both of these respiratory diseases,” said Luis Jodar, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer, Pfizer Vaccines.